Society not becoming violent, say experts

SINGAPORE - The Kovan double murder, the Orchard Cineleisure slashing, and now an attack in the heartland of Ang Mo Kio.

Does the recent spate of shocking attacks indicate that violence is rising here? Perhaps not, going by last year's police statistics.

Crimes in which victims were hurt dropped by 4 per cent last year to 3,811 cases, from 3,969 in 2011. Murder cases were at a 20-year low last year, with 11 cases, compared with 16 in 2011.

Police statistics for this year were not available on Monday.

Is there a public perception that such attacks are increasing?

Those living in areas where attacks have occurred are predictably concerned about their safety, such as the residents of Hillside Drive in Upper Serangoon after the double murder last Wednesday.

Similarly, after Sunday's Ang Mo Kio slashing, housewife Sanisah Abdullah, 57, who lives in a block near where the attack took place, said: "I was cooking when I heard a commotion. I take my two young grandchildren to the nearby park regularly and I'm worried that this happened in front of my block."

But Madam Phoebe Lau, 36, who has two children aged seven and 10, thinks Singapore is generally safe.

"As parents, we will be disturbed by such news, but I believe we have to guide our children and be cautious and sensitive about people and the surroundings."

Sociologist Tan Ern Ser does not think that society is becoming more violent.

"We need to consider the big picture first by examining homicide indicators before we can suggest that things are getting worse," he said.

Mr Ravinderpal Singh, a lawyer of 17 years, also does not believe that crimes have become more violent. "Nonetheless, it pays to be cautious and wise," he said.

"I'm more worried about unprovoked cases of violence - for instance, road rage or cases of mistaken identity."

Psychologist Daniel Koh said he has been seeing more cases of younger people with violence issues. He blames high-stress levels from a young age, technology and poor parenting as possible reasons for young people resorting to violence.

"With technology, things are made easier. People have poor communication and problem-solving skills. They do not know how to negotiate and resort to their basic instincts: to fight and show who is stronger."

Hearse leaves wake; wife of elderly victim leaves distraught
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Funeral of victims of Kovan murders
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